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How to Paint & Stencil Tile

DIY | Home Tour | Interior Decor

Hello friends! I think you all remember when I painted and stenciled my tile back in 2015.  2 years ago painting your tile was basically unheard of. I’m happy to report that stenciled tile has become a bit of a trend and many of you have had successful projects completed since!

If you missed my painted tile tutorial the first time, you can read it HERE! If you’re back for more and want to read about what products I used to paint and stencil my tile for round 2, then you’re in the right spot!

I get asked just about everyday how my painted tile is holding up.  After 2 years (in a high traffic area) I have had a few chips and scratches (mostly very small) and one large scratch where my daughter scraped a lego back and forth to chip the paint.  She can be a bit destructive.  I’ll be honest though, without an intention to really scratch up the paint ( INSERT FRUSTRATED TONE), I have had very few problems.  If you plan to paint your tile, I  would strongly suggest thouroghly reading through my last tutorial and the comments section at the end!

I have been very happy with how my floor has held up. So much so that I painted and stenciled my hallway bathroom floor last month.  (shown below)

how to paint and stencil tile

This time I used a different product.  Instead of chalk paint (which I used on my mudroom floor & shown above), I used a low luster epoxy paint…mostly used for garage floors.  I really wanted to see if this would be more durable and bring you an objective opinion. Read on as I share the full tutorial on how I painted and stenciled my bathroom tile with epoxy paint!  You can shop all the supplies needed for this project below!

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How to Paint & Stencil Tile

Just a quick note:  Please read the full tutorial before taking on your own tile.  It is very important to follow each step if you want a successful outcome!  Now here is what my boring brown tile looked like before…

how to paint and stencil tile -before

First We prep the tile!

I had such positive feedback from all you lovely people who embarked on this detailed DIY with me last time! Only one gal commented that her paint had peeled away and was not happy with the results.  I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH – PREPARATION IS KEY! It turned out she did not prep her floors at all… so lean in while I tell ya the secret to making sure your paint adheres.

1- Use 150 grit sandpaper and sand the entire floor.  Its not the most pleasant sound, but It will make sure things a roughened up a bit.

2- Use a good cleaning agent like a degreaser or a product that cuts through soap scum depending on what area of the home your are prepping to paint.

3- Wash thoroughly with a wet rag and remove any hairs, dirt, dust, etc from floor.

4- Use thick blue painters tape across all your baseboard, cabinet bottoms, bath tubs, or any wall that meets your floor.

I did not photograph steps 1-3 but they are VERY IMPORTANT!

Get the Prep Supplies

how to paint and stencil tile - prep

Now we paint the base color!

Last time I painted my mudroom tile I used chalk paint.  This time I used SEAL KRETE epoxy concrete & garage floor paint.  I figured this would be pretty durable stuff if you can drive a car over it!  It says right on the label that it resists water, oil, grease, and salt.  It also resists peeling & blistering and cleans up with soap and water.  I think this bathroom tile is gonna hold up just fine!

I selected the Basic White in a satin finish.

how to paint and stencil tile

This will give the tile a flat sheen to look like all the cement tiles we love.  Starting out I just painted the perimeter of the tile along all the edges with my purdy angled brush.  Be sure to get in all the nooks and crannies that you might not reach with a roller.  It went on pretty thin as you can see.

how to paint and stencil tile - base coat

Using a 1/4 inch nap roller I applied the first coat of paint onto my bathroom tile.  It’s still wet in the photo below.  As it drys the roller marks diminish.

how to paint and stencil tile

I let the 1st coat dry over night.  Really the only time I had to work on this tile was after my kids went to bed anyway.  So I just painted 1 coat per day (or night really) and let it dry in between.  After 3 days (3 coats) of  this, I went back over the grout lines with my angled brush.

I applied my final 4th coat of white paint on the 5th day and let it cure for a whole week while I was on a business trip with my hubs.  On the label it says dry time is only 2 hours to touch, so if you wanted to bang out that base color in one day-it would totally be doable.  My kids made it impossible for me – so late night painting was my solution.

how to paint and stencil tile - base color

When I returned home from my trip I stripped the old blue tape off the baseboards and edges using a razor blade.  I always use a razor blade to remove my tape when the paint has dried.  This will avoid any paint peeling off with the tape when you remove it.

how to paint and stencil tile

Apply a fresh layer of blue tape along the same perimeter.

Now we stencil the tile!

I purchased this Augusta Tile Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  Cutting Edge Stencils totally caught on to this paint trend and came out with a whole line of tile stencils with great patterns.  They have so many options to customize your project to fit right into your home style. Each tile stencil comes in 3 common tile sizes.  Easy Peasy. Here is what the actual stencil looks like.  For more tile stencil designs click HERE.

how to paint and stencil tile

*Click on the Ad below to Shop All the Tile Stencils*

In my opinion the more successful looking stenciled floors carry a pattern that lines up with the whole tile.  You know you’ve got a good DIY when no one can tell its a DIY.  Case and point:  I get compliments on my tile all the time…when I tell them I painted it, they get down on their hands and knees and look in disbelief!  Image of my painted tile mudroom below!

How to paint and stencil tile

I chose a Charcoal gray for my stencil color.  On my last tutorial, I painted a dark base with a white stencil.  I really like both options.  The Seal Krete epoxy paint comes in a white tint base (which I used for the base color) and a deep tint base (which I used for the stencil color).  If I remember correctly Seal Krete offers around 18 tinted color options.  I kept it classic with black and white though.

Using a foam roller I applied my charcoal gray paint over the stencil starting from the left and moving toward the right side of the stencil.  Try to avoid going over the same areas more then twice.  This will help avoid bleeding.

how to paint and stencil tile

Bathrooms are such a fun space for a pattern floor.  Just keep in mind there are a lot of nooks and crannies you’ll have to work around.  I stenciled all the full tiles first and then worked my way out from there.

how to paint and stencil tile

When I had completed all the full tiles, I let it dry overnight and returned the following night to finish the rest.  You don’t want to smear all that hard work by accidentally stepping on wet paint!

how to paint and stencil tile

Here is where it gets a bit tricky!  I found that bending the stencil around corners and up walls (or toilets) really wasn’t working, so I decided to start cutting down my stencil systematically.  I started with the tile that surrounded my toilet.  I lined up the stencil with the grout lines and let it fold up the toilet base.  Then I cut right around the toilet to get the correct shape on my stencil.

A couple notes here:  Make sure your toilet is clean cause your gonna be right in there haha! Secondly, if you’re not doing a bathroom you really won’t have many obstacles like this.  Just make sure if you are painting your bathroom floor that you don’t cut the stencil too small before you get all the larger tiles. Once you cut it there is no going back!

how to paint and stencil tile

I started with the largest tiles that weren’t full size and measured them.  I then cut the stencil down to the specified size and stenciled all the tiles that measured the same. See below.

how to paint and stencil tile

how to paint and stencil tile

This method allowed me to get precise stencil lines in all the hard to reach areas.  After completing all the tiles below my vanity I then measured around my door casing and air vent.  In the photo below I stenciled the tile all the way to the casing.  Then I cut two smaller pieces to finish the whole pattern.

how to paint and stencil tile

how to paint and stencil tile

You can see I had a bit of bleeding on the above tile too.  There were several places I had to go back and patch up with a foam craft brush.  The more intrecate the stencil the more touch up you will likely have to do.  Keep that in mind when selecting your stencil.  The last pattern I did on my mudroom was a lot easier.  Just keeping in 100% honest over here.

How to paint and stencil tile

How to paint and stencil tile

I am a bit of a perfectionist so of course I went over and above and touched up every little detail.  It probably took me 4 hours of touch up time.  Just be prepared this is a detailed DIY.  To simplify, use a less ornate stencil pattern.  I totally love this pattern though, so for me the extra time investment was worth it!

How to paint and stencil tile

Now we seal the painted tile!

The label says the paint needs to cure for at least 72 hours before applying the sealer.  I used the same Seal Krete brand – Clear Seal low gloss sealer.

How to paint and stencil tile - sealer

Using the same 1/4 inch nap roller I used for the base coat, I applied 4 coats of the clear sealer.  I let each coat dry for 24 hours before reapplying.  It goes on a little spotty and almost looks bluish when wet, but it dries nicely.  You can see what I mean in the photo below.  It was taken just after applying the first coat. Wet.

How to paint and stencil tile

 

You may find a few little hairs or pieces of dirt as you roll on the sealer.   Just be sure to remove them with your finger and roll back over the clean area.  If you leave it there it will dry into the sealer.  No body wants a hairy floor:)  Here is the finished masterpiece!

How to paint and stencil tile

Just 2 days after completing my painted stenciled floor I had family come in town.  This floor took the brunt of 15 kids in and out and several showers.  I’m happy to report not even one scratch appeared!

How to paint and stencil tile

UPDATE: Click HERE to see how my shower tile turned out!

So here is my honest opinion about the chalk paint method vs the Epoxy paint method.  I really feel they are both valid options and you could use either one.  If you are considering a bathroom (and shower surround like I will be doing), I would use the epoxy paint for sure.  I just think it will end up being more durable and water resistant.  If you are painting a different area, I would do which ever medium your more comfortable with. I have only lived with the epoxy painted floor for a month so it really is hard for me to say which one is stronger, but I will sure let you know how this floor holds up.  In the mean time, be sure to carefully read though both tutorials before starting this project.

how to paint and stencil tile

I hope this tutorial motivates you to take a chance and get creative with the boring tiles in your home! The patterned cement tiles are expensive, so painting and stenciling tile is a very affordable way to get the same fun look.  If you love it, please pin the image below!  Pin it so you don’t forget it as I always say!

How to paint and stencil tile...Cement tile look-a-like

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109 Comments

  1. I am wondering if this project is full of fumes or how stinky it is ? My bathroom is right next to my baby’s room. Did you have good air flow when doing it ?

    1. Hi Madison. It definitely has fumes esp the base coat. I had the window open the whole time and you could ware a mask if you wanted. My baby’s room is right next to this bathroom as well and I kept her door closed the entire time. /the air didn’t ever seem to transfer to her room.

  2. Question, how was the odor from the epoxy paint? Your floor looks terrific. I also used this pattern and touch up was necessary but well worth it as you said. Great tutorial also.

    1. Thank you cookie. The epoxy paint does have an oder, but I really only noticed it with the base coat. Keep the space well ventilated while working

  3. I would love to do this because I love how it turned out however, we have tile that is not smooth. Do you think it would work just as well?

  4. Your tutorials are the BEST!! Going to do this, and I will tag you in pics! Thanks for the inspiration for this project and countless others. ?❤️

  5. Just wondering if the floor is slick? How doe your children do getting out of the shower/tub of feet are wet? (Mine don’t always dry their feet on the rug?)

    1. Yes. Be sure to use a degreaser for prep and clean very very well before painting.

  6. Can or should you prime first before painting base color? If so, would you use a latex or oil based primer?

    1. You could prime first and there is a primer made for this product in the same brand line. If you prime i would highly recommend using that

  7. Hi mysha,

    My bathroom is painted hardwoods. How do you think it would look to stencil it, given there are no tiles to use as a guide?

    Would love to hear how you would tackle it!

    Kim

    1. Hi kim I think painted hardwood looks amazing. You would have the planks as a guide in one direction. I would map out the stencil grid in the other direction before starting so that your stencil stays strait. Please tag me in a photo and reference my tutorial if you take this project on. Id love to see

  8. I have small (ugly) brown tiles in my bathroom – like 2″×2″. So I can’t use a stencil. But have I mentioned it’s ugly?
    Do you think painting just the time and grout would look ok? Or does it need the stencil aspect to look decent.
    Although I could probably give my 3 and 1 year old markers and it would look better

  9. Hi, our tiles in the kitchen (and bathroom) are decent colour but just waiting to be customized! Can I just stencil them after a good cleaning to keep the background color or is it mandatory to paint all the surface for good result?
    Of course one project at the time…

    1. I would think it would be fine to just stencil, but I haven’t tested this method so I can’t be certain.

      1. You would not be able – or want – to sand the tile first if you were only going to paint a stencil.

        1. The reason you would want to sand the tile lightly would be to create a better surface for the paint to adhere to

  10. Do you think this would work on typical 70’s style tile? I have ugly avocado green tile and would love to paint it but I’m afraid it won’t hold up.

  11. Hello Mysha,

    Some previously asked you about textured tile. Can we paint texture tile? My fear is that because I will be painting backsplash tile that the paint may bleed.

    1. Ni Mayra you could definitely paint the tile a solid color. The stencil could be a bit tricky with the texture

  12. If you did another tile floor would you use your 1st method or your second method? I love the look but I have to tackle my brick backsplash project first, then I will move onto the tile.

    1. hmmm thats a hard one but i guess it would depend on the space and how much water exposure it would get. Bathrooms id use the second method for sure!

  13. Hi this is amazing and I have to do this to my yikes in our new house, which are the same giant weird beige brown as yours were. One question: I know you said you custom ordered your mudroom stencil. Was it from the same company that did the Augusta tile and is there a name for that pattern? I can’t find it anywhere. My tiles are 17 7/8″ square.

    1. The stencil I ordered for my mudroom was custom, No one had any of these prints when I did that floor. The company I ordered from is no longer in business, but cutting edge may already have this pattern just not as a tile stencil. Click on one of the ads in my post and check the whole site

  14. Awesome floor!! I have vinyl “tile” on my bathroom floors. Any experience painting that, or any thoughts on how it would turn out?

    1. HI mary, I haven’t used the epoxy paint product on vinyl but my chalk paint method works great. Check out my first painted floor tutorial! It linked in this article.

  15. Hi Mysha,

    You have done a super job on your floors. Are your floors porcelain or ceramic? Other than the stencil, did you get your products at one of the big box home improvement stores?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi susan I linked all my products and supplies right here in the post. I found the most reasonable prices online. Thanks

  16. Hi, i just wanted to say that the tile looks amazing. Maybe even better than the real thing. I was wondering wheterh you found this tutorial more challenging or your last one in 2015, based on the different paints you used.

    1. hi steven thank you so much. I would say both tutorials require the same amount of elbow grease. The main difference in difficulty was the stencil choice. The first stencil option was much easier. Hope that helps

  17. I just did my bathroom with the chalk paint method and had an issue with the chalk paint building up and drying on the stencil then coming off in little pieces when I painted the next tile, they were sticking to the roller too. I imagine using the epoxy I could have avoided that issue! It’s not noticeable unless you were to really examine them closely but it was still very frustrating and something I hadn’t heard anyone else have trouble with.

    1. Hi Ria,

      Sorry to hear your had some trouble. To think back I remember my stencil building up a bit also.I washed it down a couple times during the process. I could add that to the instructions. Thanks

  18. I love this! I have the ugliest blue 4×4 times surrounding my tub. Problem is it’s a pattern with mostly white around. About every 6 tile is blue. Do you think this method could be done by taping off each blue tile for paint and stencil? I’m assuming it would be best to seal all tile.

    1. So are you talking about just painting and stenciling the blue tiles and leaving the rest the original white then?

  19. Good Morning Mysha!
    I was invited to a meeting in February at Hometalk Headquarters in NYC this past February and while talking to a fellow Hometalker, she told me about what you had done. I was getting ready to redo my master bathroom at home and seeing your last post on this subject, I couldn’t wait to try this.
    I LOVE what you did!! You inspired me to do my tile and this post inspires me to want to do more tile. I actually bought two stencils because I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. Outstanding tutorials and fabulous work…So in love with this idea for redoing tile. Thank you so much!!!
    Here is my post on Hometalk after I painted my tile (complete with a shout out to you): http://www.hometalk.com/30107044/i-painted-and-stenciled-my-ceramic-tile

    1. Hi Elizabeth I love how your bordered your floor. It looks fantastic and I am so happy to inspire others. Thank you for giving credit I really appreciate that. Could I ask you to make the link to my tutorial clickable, along with the addition of my name? I would so appreciate that. Have a great day and I can’t wait to see your next floor!

  20. I am wanting to do this on my bathroom floor but the tile is small hexagon shaped…how do I find a stencil to fit that without it going over the grout?

    1. Hi ashley. Hmm thats a hard one. Im not sure that I would stencil it but maybe just painting it a solid color will give it a nice update!?

      1. That’s what I was thinking…what paint would you recommend for just painting it? I’m thinking I want more of a matte then glossy finish. My bathroom is floor to ceiling pink tile….yes pink.

  21. Will the chalk paint or epoxy paint work on porcelain tile? I have nicks out of my porcelain tiles and since the porcelain is beige and the tile underneath is red, it pretty obvious there is damage. Would love to paint them and get great result like yours.

  22. When sanding during the prep work did you sand by hand or use a sander? I’m thinking a sander might have too much power behind it and mess up the tile, but I’m also thinking it would go faster than doing it by hand?

  23. thank you SO MUCH for posting such detailed tutorials! both versions of the painted tile look fantastic, and your thorough step-by-step instructions make me confident a novice DIYer like myself will be able to tackle this project. Can’t wait to try this out in my new bathroom. Just a few questions:
    – is the second method here holding up better than the chalkboard paint?
    – did you hand sand, or do you have a sanding machine? how aggressively did you sand the tile to prep it?
    – any other tidbits of advice you’ve thought of since making this post?
    thank you again!

    1. Hi there. Im so glad to hear you are taking on this project. Please tag me in a photo when you finish! I’d love to see it and share with my readers. I hand sanded but I’m sure you could use a machine. Just start with a fine grit paper and see how it goes. Both have held up great, although if it is going to be in a bathroom I might do the second method. You could use a stencil adhesive spray while stenciling to avoid bleeding. Good luck and can’t wait to see

  24. Thank you so much for sharing this – you did an absolutely brill job! Well done to you ? May be inspired to be brave!

  25. Hi, I am really keen to try your stencilled tile floor but I have inherited one floor which changes halfway across! One half (the kitchen /utility room area) has flat finished creamy brown ceramic tiles and the other half (the entrance hall) has the same size tiles but in gloss blue ceramic. I want to paint and stencil the whole area to one finish to tie the two spaces together and lose the visual division. Do I need to prepare the two areas differently from each other due to their different finishes? Also, are you confident that painting the gloss tiles will work – I popped into my local Annie Sloan stockist to discuss this and she had serious doubts about whether it would work…

    1. Hi Sarah, my tiles aren’t glossy but I know some of my followers have successfully painted their glossy tiles. Paint is paint and eventually you will have to repaint it. Mine has held up great for 2 years now though! I would just say prep is key. Clean, sand, and prime…and I think you will be happy with the results!

  26. Beautiful! I am wondering if this could be done BEFORE the tile is laid? Meaning, “Mr. Squeaky” (aka: The Hubs), bought tile for THREE large bathrooms in a home we bought…..BORING, plain tile…LOL
    Do you think if I did all the tile pieces first, (& seal them of course), that they would hold up through the grout process? We are moving from Florida to Kentucky, & I have ALL the cases of tile just sitting here, waiting! LOL
    Thank You!

    1. I Richonda! I wouldn’t take my chances against the abrasiveness of grout! If it were me I would paint and stencil after.

  27. Hi! Your floors look great! I have a couple of questions.. out of the 2 different methods you’ve done, which do you prefer? And which do you think looks “better”, as in non diy-ish? If you did another floor today which method would you use?

    1. Hi Nikki, I actually don’t think either look Like a diy, which is what I pride myself on. I truly like both methods, however if you are painting tile (not linoleum) I would recommend the second method. That being said, I haven had it on my floor for 2 years like the chalk paint so It is hard to say. Hope that helps

  28. Wonderful!!! So is there a verdict? Is the low epoxy paint floor more durable than the chalk paint floor?

  29. Beautiful floors! Have you noticed any change in the tile texture/traction with either method? I’d love to paint our tiled floors but they are extremely slippery when wet. Any ideas? Thanks.

  30. What an amazing tutorial! I’m thinking of doing this in my powder room. I’m
    Wondering though. You painted over the grout, how does the grout look now after living in it for a while? Is the paint coming up from the grout? How do you clean the grout?

  31. I was wondering what size stencil you used and what size are your tiles? My tiles are 16 x 16 and I’m having a hard time finding that size. What size would you recommend for my tiles and if its larger I can cut it down right?

    1. Hi tracy, If your tiles are 16×16 your really need the pattern on the stencil to be the same size or slightly smaller depending on what pattern you want. Mine were 18×18

  32. HI there!

    My tile is an actual measurement of 11 7/8″ x 11 7/8″. Should the stencil be the actual measurement or nominal 12″ x 12″ ?

    Thanks!
    Anna

    1. hi anna, since its so close I think you can get away with the 12 x 12 so you don’t have to custom order a size

  33. Gorgeous floors! I want to try this on my laundry/ mudroom floor. One question I have is whether the epoxy clear coat will yellow over time? I want a crisp black & white pattern & don’t want it to yellow like some clear coats do…thanks for the awesome tutorial!! Can’t wait to try this, too!

    1. Hi Sheagonza- I’m so excited to see your floor. Please tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #RApaintstile so I can share it. Also the clear epoxy paint does not yellow at all!

  34. Thank you so much for this! I am dying to paint my kitchen floor. Just one color, no stencil. It is in the center of the home and a very large space (no island). Do you really think it can handle the wear and tear? My husband is such a skeptic and I’m scared if it doesn’t work out, I’m in bigger trouble than having ugly tile. (I successfully painted my cabinets light gray though and they are amazing, but I was a nervous nelly for that DIY project too).

    1. Hi bonnie, Yes it has held up really well. Just keep in mind paint is a permanent solution. Since you are doing just one color though, if you need to touch up or repaint in 2-3 years no big deal!

  35. This looks amazing! I’m going to give it a try on the hideous terra-cotta colored tiles in my ensuite and then perhaps my guest bathroom too!

    1. yay candice I’m so excited to see. make sure you tag me @remingtonavenue on instagram and use the hashtag #remingtonavenuepaintstile for a feature.

  36. When I saw this I was immediately excited to take on this project for my 1968 original bathroom tiles (which are really gross as you would imagine), only to realize that instead of being laid out evenly my 4×4″ tiles are staggered such that they would not form an 8×8″ square. I had originally planned to just use a quartered 4×4″ stencil to achieve an 8×8″ tile look. (hopefully this makes sense–I feel it’s kind of hard to explain without seeing it). But since the tiles are staggered, I’m kind of at a dead end because I can’t figure out how to stencil and stay within the grout lines (the stencil would end up going over the grout lines and the grout lines would basically bisect the pattern on one side). What do you think I should do? Just go for it and hope for the best in terms of having mismatched stencil/grout lines? Look for a full stencil as opposed to the quartered ones? Or maybe something else altogether? Thanks! and SO sorry for the incredibly long description/post

  37. I love the way the blue of your bathroom looks with the black and white floors. Do you know the name of the blue wall paint?

    1. I can’t remember the name but its 2 shades lighter on the color card from Tempe star, my master bedroom color by sherwin williams.

  38. Hi! 2 questions: There is a review on the Amazon link for the epoxy that you need a vapor barrier or the moisture/water exposure will make the epoxy peel–makes me nervous to do this in my bathroom with all the water that will inevitably be everywhere with my kids and their baths. Have you experienced any issues in this regard? Also, I am confused about the “color” of the stenciled part–you said charcoal gray, but later said you keep it to basic black and white. Was that for the tint base or something? Thanks for any help! Great tutorial, I can’t wait to tackle this and have a “new” bathroom!

    1. Hi Lexi, I have had no peeling in my bathroom, but It is not the most heavily used one in our home. In regards to the color, I used the charcoal gray for my hallway bathroom. What I meant by classic black and white was the overall look. Meaning no color. I linked the exact paints I used for all my readers convenience. The links are the lowest prices I found. Excited for you.

  39. Do you think if I painted the tiles before laying them that there would be issues with grouting the tile? Specifically, do you think that there is a chance the paint would be removed during the grouting process? We are looking at the feasibility of installing cheaper tile and stencilling it to get the encaustic look without having to pay the crazy prices.

    1. yes i do think the grout would work almost like sandpaper against the paint. I would not paint before laying it

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